Does prayer have the power to heal?

Is there a god? What is the meaning of life?
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Oxl3y
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Re: Does prayer have the power to heal?

Post by Oxl3y »

Driscoll wrote:There have been previous, reliable scientific studies into the power of prayer.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/04/060403133554.htm
Researchers have been trying to prove this and even to measure the effect. So far, two studies found that third-party prayers bestow benefits, but two others concluded that there are no benefits. Now, the largest study to date, covering 1,802 people who underwent coronary bypass surgery at six different hospitals, supported the latter research.
...

"The primary goal of the study was limited to evaluating whether intercessory prayer or the knowledge of receiving it would influence recovery after bypass surgery," notes Jeffery Dusek, an instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School.
...

[C]omplications occurred in 59 percent of those who were prayed for, compared to 51 percent of those who received no prayers, and 52 percent in the group who received prayers but didn't know it.
...

The evaluation found that third-party prayer has no effect at all on recovery from surgery without complications, and that patients who knew they were receiving prayer fared worse that those who were not prayed for.


Sample: 1802 coronary artery bypass patients
Method: split into 3 groups of ~600. Group one was prayed for, and told that they were being prayer for. Group two was prayed for, but were not told. Group three was not prayed for.
Results: Group one: 59% of patients had complications. Group two: 52% had complications. Group three: 51% had complications.
Conclusion: There is no statistical difference regarding complications during/after cardiac bypass surgery between those who weren't prayed for, and those who didn't know they were being prayer for. Those who knew they were being prayer for actually did statistically significantly worse than the other two groups.

Study abstract, information, methods, and results can be found here: http://www.google.ca/search?q=cardiac+bypass+prayer+study+site%3Amedscape.com&hl=en&biw=1366&bih=677&num=10&lr=&ft=i&cr=&safe=images&tbs=
They don't seem to allow direct linking to the study, unless it's done through google.


I don't believe that other people praying for you will do squat. For it to have any positive effect it has to be an individual thing, the positivity has to come from YOU.
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fluffy
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Re: Does prayer have the power to heal?

Post by fluffy »

I admit that the effectiveness of third party prayer has always been questionable for me, but on a individual level I think it has benefits, but this opinion is base more on personal experience on how my life is running when I'm feeling good about it that when I'm not. Feeling good about it doesn't necessarily mean that it is without problems, if I'm working toward solving the problems rather than ignoring or hiding from them then it makes a huge difference. In that aspect for me prayer can be just another tool in getting your personal house tidied up so to speak.
Denial is based on one very specific desire – for something to not be true.
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Glacier
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Re: Does prayer have the power to heal?

Post by Glacier »

"No one has the right to apologize for something they did not do, and no one has the right to accept an apology if the wrong was not done to them."
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Driscoll
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Re: Does prayer have the power to heal?

Post by Driscoll »

From above link:
A study released today claims to have found evidence that, if specifically requested, God might heal those with impaired hearing and vision.
...

The team used an audiometer and vision charts to evaluate 14 patients who reported impaired hearing and 11 who reported impaired vision, both before and after members of a local church prayed for their healing. Subjects reported a small but statistically significant improvement in hearing and vision following the prayers.

So is this proof of God’s existence, or that praying to a higher power bestows some benefit?

At first glance the study is interesting, but upon closer examination serious limitations become apparent. First, the sample size is tiny; with only 24 participants the results are very difficult to generalize to a larger population. Second, the measures studied by Brown and her colleagues were inherently subjective, and not objectively measured. Indeed, the authors admit that “auditory and visual impairments are.... not unaffected by psychosomatic factors.”

A double-blind study (that is, one in which neither the researchers nor the patients knew who was prayed for) would have been far more reliable. This would help control for the well-known placebo effect; it is not only possible but likely that those who receive personal, special attention from prayer groups and researchers might genuinely believe that they can see or hear better, at least temporarily—much in the way that a person who takes a placebo pill that they believe to be a pain reliever might experience less pain.
...

Furthermore, the study did not control for the pre-existing beliefs of the patients...

It is worth noting that far better-designed studies have found that prayer is not effective. In 2006, researchers at six major medical centers, including Harvard and the Mayo Clinic, completed the largest prayer study to date. The research ("Study of the Therapeutic Effects of intercessory Prayer 'STEP' in cardiac bypass patients," published in the American Heart Journal) was conducted over nearly a decade and led by Dr. Herbert Benson. It included 2,000 cardiac surgery patients who were randomly assigned to different prayer groups. Prayer had no beneficial effect on recovery time, death rate, or any other factors.

It wasn't a very well done study. The sample size was extremely small, biases weren't taken into account, and the effect wasn't even compared to placebo.
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JonyDarko
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Re: Does prayer have the power to heal?

Post by JonyDarko »

I think that prayer as a meditation or relaxing exercise is as beneficial as fishing. If it had healing potential believers would get cancer, heart attacks, and aids at a MUCH lower rate then the rest of the world. Magic and miracles do not exist imo, but a need to feel special and "chosen" do.
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fluffy
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Re: Does prayer have the power to heal?

Post by fluffy »

JonyDarko wrote:I think that prayer as a meditation or relaxing exercise is as beneficial as fishing.


I agree. I'd go so far as to say any activity that promotes stress reduction has benefits.
Denial is based on one very specific desire – for something to not be true.
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Tacklewasher
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Re: Does prayer have the power to heal?

Post by Tacklewasher »

-fluffy- wrote:
JonyDarko wrote:I think that prayer as a meditation or relaxing exercise is as beneficial as fishing.


I agree. I'd go so far as to say any activity that promotes stress reduction has benefits.


:dyinglaughing:

You haven't seen me fishing.
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Re: Does prayer have the power to heal?

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Prayer is nothing more than a placebo.
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fluffy
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Re: Does prayer have the power to heal?

Post by fluffy »

I wouldn't go so far as to say "nothing more...", but there most certainly is a placebo aspect to the practice of prayer. Belief is a powerful thing as evidenced by the many studies showing the positive benefits of the placebo effect.
Denial is based on one very specific desire – for something to not be true.
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Captain Awesome
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Re: Does prayer have the power to heal?

Post by Captain Awesome »

forum wrote:Prayer is nothing more than a placebo.


So is energetic music, but it does help when you're working out.
So are few words of encouragement from a wise man when you're going through tough times.
So is hope, but having hope sure helps people in life.
So is meditation, but it centers people and calms them down.
Sarcasm is like a good game of chess. Most people don't know how to play chess.
Mr. Personality
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Re: Does prayer have the power to heal?

Post by Mr. Personality »

Prayer can be helpful, but it won't cure you.
A positive attitude can get you through a lot and prayer can help some people gain that positive attitude. As such, it can be a help to some.
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Nebula
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Re: Does prayer have the power to heal?

Post by Nebula »

Outside of the power of positive thinking thing, prayer does squat. We know that positive thinking and being happy releases endorphins and other chemicals that make us feel better.

A study of a bunch of people who reported their hearing or eyesight improved after prayer is completely bogus. That's like me saying I watched TV and the swelling in my foot went down, therefore watching the Simpsons works.

Prayer is for some people who want to feel like they're actually doing something. Somehow (and I don't think I'll ever figure it out why), these people think it helps in some way. It does not.

There were a lot of people praying for the victims of the Japanese tsunami. It didn't do a damn thing. What helped was people on the ground, doing something. It is human intervention and blind luck that changes fortunes.

Take a person buried under rubble. If prayer worked, that person wouldn't need rescuers. Oh, but the prayerful say it was their prayers sent out that sent the rescuers to the right place to rescue the victim. Bogus. I could say it was my eating Corn Flakes at 9:02 a.m. that made the difference.

Something else that gets me about prayer and accolades for this god that people worship is the dichotomy present in praising this supposed supreme being.

Here's an example. A disaster happens and the faithful say, "Thank god it wasn't worse." What? Excuse me? You're thanking your god for not making the disaster worse? If you really believe that your god was responsible for not making the disaster so bad, you must also believe that your god had the ability to not allow the disaster to happen in the first place. In that case, why don't you say, "Thank god for killing all those people."

Of course they wouldn't say that. People only want to concentrate on the positive side of the fantasy. They don't to bring themselves to the reality that if there god has the power to make a bad situation less bad, it also has the power to not make it happen in the first place.

A million people can die, but the faithful will thank the protagonist of their fable for not letting it get worse. Then they'll pray to their god to help clean it up and make the situation better.

The only 'evidence' of prayer working is in situations where the exact same result could have been achieved without the prayer. It's a cop out, attributing an event to a pretend omniscient being. And the evidence is not evidence at all.

If prayer really worked, how come we don't have amputees miraculously growing new limbs? We don't because it is not possible and no fable centerpiece can make it happen.
You cannot reason someone out of a position that they did not use reason to arrive at.
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Tacklewasher
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Re: Does prayer have the power to heal?

Post by Tacklewasher »

Nebula.

You forgot about the accident where it's a "miracle" that one of the 50 involved survived.
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Nebula
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Re: Does prayer have the power to heal?

Post by Nebula »

Tacklewasher wrote:Nebula.

You forgot about the accident where it's a "miracle" that one of the 50 involved survived.

Thank you god for 'only' killing 49.
You cannot reason someone out of a position that they did not use reason to arrive at.
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Glacier
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Re: Does prayer have the power to heal?

Post by Glacier »

Prayer doesn't work. I prayed for the healing of Clifford Olson's cancer, but it didn't happen.
Last edited by Glacier on Oct 9th, 2011, 9:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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